Michigan finishes series against Ferris State with shootout victory

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By Michael Laurila, Daily Sports Writer
Published December 2, 2012

BIG RAPIDS — After the Michigan hockey team suffered its first shutout loss of the season in a dismal 5-0 defeat against Ferris State on a Friday night that saw the Bulldogs score three second-period goals and two more in the third, 42 seconds into Saturday’s series finale it looked like the trend would continue.

With a four-on-four after both teams earned a quick penalty, Ferris State notched its first goal of the game when freshman goalie Steve Racine mishandled a Bulldog slap shot and the rebound was easily deflected into the back of the net.

The trend of easy Bulldog goals stopped though when the Wolverines (3-6-1 CCHA, 5-8-1 overall) scored three first-period goals. And despite a late comeback effort that saw Ferris State (6-3, 7-4-2) tie the game in the third period, Michigan was able to pull out a shootout victory and somewhat salvage the weekend with two points.

“We knew they’re a good team so we expected them to battle just as we do,” said senior forward A.J. Treais. “If they score a goal, we got to get right back at them and refocus. I think we handled that a lot better (Saturday). Obviously yesterday we let them off the hook.”

When the Wolverines have allowed the first goal of the game this season they have posted just a 2-6 record. The boisterous Ewigleben Ice Arena crowd only gave Ferris State that much more momentum after the Bulldogs scored in the first minute.

But with 13:02 remaining in the first period and Michigan on its heels, Treais knocked in his 10th goal of the season after senior forward Kevin Lynch perfectly screened Ferris State goalie C.J. Motte. This started the succession of Wolverine goals.

Two minutes and twenty seconds later, freshman Cristoval “Boo” Nieves scored another rebound goal to make the score 2-1 in the Wolverines favor. And just 29 seconds after the Nieves tally, senior forward Lindsay Sparks tipped in a senior forward Kevin Lynch shot for the third Michigan goal of the period.

The three Wolverine goals in just two minutes and 49 seconds were a pleasant surprise for a team that has struggled as of late to find the back of the net. Spanning back to a loss against Michigan State on Nov. 10, Michigan had posted a 1-5 record, scored just eight goals and allowed 25.

“(It was) hard work going to the net,” said senior forward Lindsay Sparks about the first period’s productivity. “They weren’t really nice goals, so just hard work.”

The Wolverines couldn’t maintain that momentum in the second period though. With 11:48 remaining and both teams on another four-on-four, Ferris State forward Kyle Bonis took the puck from center ice, feigned a shot, and adeptly skated around the net to tally a wrap-around goal before Racine could recover in time to block it with his pad. This made the score 3-2 in Michigan’s favor and the Bulldogs carried a new found momentum.

Michigan coach Red Berenson had stressed earlier in the week the importance of keeping the crowd out of the game, and the Wolverines were never able to fully eliminate the rambunctious Ferris State student section. It seemed that the puck constantly ended up deep in Michigan’s defensive zone, and Racine dangerously tested during the final minutes of the second period.

With 13:33 remaining in the third period, Ferris State tied up the game at three a-piece when Bonis rifled a wrist shot past Racine’s glove side into the top right corner of the net for his second goal of the game. This would conclude the scoring for the remainder of regulation. Though the Bulldogs had the momentum during the final frame, the Wolverines possessed the puck and generated more chances than they had done in the second period.

“Even though (Ferris State) got some momentum at times in the game, our team hung in there,” Berenson said. “Maybe we didn’t capitalize on a couple of our chances that would have separated us in the game but nevertheless give them credit. They’re a good team at home and they proved it.”

The game was to be decided by a shootout after neither team generated much offense during the overtime period. With the score tied 2-2 after the first three shooters, junior forward Luke Moffatt juked Motte and scored. Racine would hold strong against the Bulldog’s last shooter, en route to Michigan earning two points on the weekend.